Bubba Wallace’s dad gets emotional talking about son: “We’ve had to jump through a lot of hurdles”

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NASCAR recently released the image they showed Bubba Wallace of the noose they found hanging in his garage before a race.

The father of the sport’s only top-level black driver, Darrell Wallace, Sr., got visibly emotional during an interview with CBS News’ Jericka Duncan when discussing the controversies embroiling his son, and the subsequent show of support from fellow drivers. 

“They had his back. Everybody there has his back,” Wallace said, his voice wavering. “It’s a proud moment… and we’ve had to jump through a lot of hurdles and put up with a lot of stuff — from when he was nine years old, up until today.”

The elder Wallace grew emotional while recounting Monday’s show of solidarity at Talladega. During pre-race activities, fellow drivers pushed and followed Bubba Wallace’s no. 43 stock car to the front while he sat in the driver’s seat. He then exited the car and embraced Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty, who owns the team Wallace races for. 

“I texted to my family, ‘Who’s chopping onions?’ Because they was texting, everybody was crying,” he said. 

Using his public platform to champion the Black Lives Matter movement, Bubba Wallace successfully pushed for the Confederate Flag to be banned from NASCAR events. The move was lauded by many, but criticized by others. 

His father said it was “the right thing to do” and noted people were “uncomfortable” with the flag, himself included.

“There’s only one flag I stand for, and so yeah, I’m uncomfortable with the flag, and if you’re with me and you’re uncomfortable with the flag, then I’m uncomfortable too,” he said.

After the ban, a rope in the shape of a noose was found hanging in one of the track’s nearly 1,700 garages — in the 26-year-old’s stall. The FBI’s investigation concluded there was no hate crime and that the rope was used as a garage pull, despite its appearance. 

Wallace, Sr. said he warned his son a week before that “there are some crazy people out there,” and that he felt the weight the young driver was carrying now. 

“I just see how it’s weighing down on him and wearing him out. He’s having sleepless nights. I’m worried about him,” he said.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps said cameras will now be added to garages, and NASCAR will require members of the racing association to complete sensitivity and unconscious bias training. 

As for Wallace, he said he was proud of his son and the calls for change that are following his activism.

“We just got to keep going and keep racing and do what we do,” he said.

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